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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Identity of the Holy Spirit

Don Stewart :: Is the Holy Spirit Associated on an Equal Basis with God the Father and God the Son?

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Is the Holy Spirit Associated on an Equal Basis with God the Father and God the Son?

The Identity of the Holy Spirit – Question 12

As we search the Scripture we find that the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, is called God. Yet there is something else which is important for us to observe. The Holy Spirit is not only called God He is also associated on an equal basis with the two other members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son. From Scripture, we can make the following observations.

1. The Baptismal Formula That Jesus Gave Equates the Three

Jesus said that each believer should be baptized in the name of the three members of the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We read His words in Matthew to His disciples.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19 NIV).

Each believer is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, thus, has equal standing to God the Father and God the Son. Unless the Holy Spirit was equal in nature to the Father and the Son, there is no possibility that He would be equated to them in this manner. This is another indication that the Holy Spirit is God Himself.

2. The Greetings from John Makes the Three Equal

The Holy Spirit is placed in equal rank with God the Father and God the Son in greetings.

At the beginning of the Book of Revelation we read the following words from John.

John: To the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood (Revelation 1:4, 5 HCSB).

The seven spirits seem to be a reference to the diverse ministry of the Holy Spirit. Again, the Spirit of God is associated with God the Father and God the Son.

3. The Benediction of Paul Associates All Three Members of the Trinity

The Holy Spirit is also linked to God the Father and God the Son in benedictions. The Apostle Paul wrote the following benediction to the Corinthians.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you (2 Corinthians 13:14 HCSB).

When the Apostle Paul completed his letter to the church of Corinth, he associated the Holy Spirit on an equal basis with God the Father and God the Son. This could only be the case if each of them was equal in character or nature.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is listed as a distinct personage from God the Father and God the Son. This is another indication that the Holy Spirit is God Himself as well as member of the Holy Trinity.

4. The Workings of God Associate the Holy Spirit with God the Father and God the Son

We also find that the workings of God associate the Holy Spirit equally with God the Father and God the Son. Paul wrote.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NKJV).

The Holy Spirit, therefore, is linked by association to the other two members of the Godhead. This provides further testimony that they are of the same nature, for neither human beings nor angels are ever associated on the same level with God.

5. The Holy Spirit Appears in Descriptions of the Trinity

The Holy Spirit also appears first in the following description of the members of the Trinity. Paul wrote the following words to the Ephesians.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6 HCSB).

This would only happen if the Holy Spirit is equal in character to the two other members of the Godhead.

In another description of the Holy Trinity the Holy Spirit is mentioned before God the Father. Paul wrote to the Romans.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me (Romans 15:30 TNIV).

In sum, the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. He is equal in nature to God the Father and God the Son.

Summary – Question 12
Is the Holy Spirit Associated on an Equal Basis with God the Father and God the Son?

The Holy Spirit is not only directly called God we find that He is also associated on an equal basis with God the Father and God the Son. We find this in New Testament baptismal formula. Jesus told His disciples to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of the three is placed on an equal basis.

The same holds true for greetings. God the Holy Spirit is mentioned together with the Father and the Son.

In his benedictions in certain of his letters, the Apostle Paul linked the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son. He would not have done this unless they were equal in character.

Furthermore, when God is at work each of the three members of the Holy Trinity is described as working together. At times, the Holy Spirit is mentioned first; He is listed before God the Father or God the Son. Again, this would be impossible unless they were all equal in nature.

Thus, the deity of the Holy Spirit is also bound up with the doctrine of the Trinity. If the deity of the Holy Spirit is rejected, then also the doctrine of the Trinity must be rejected.

On the other hand, if the doctrine of the Trinity is accepted then one must believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture is certainly clear on this matter. Within the nature of the one God there are three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Is the Holy Spirit Called God? ← Prior Section
Does the Holy Spirit Have the Attributes of God? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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